Witnesses Empowered

Acts 2:1-21

A.  The Spirit Comes

1.  a force  v. 2

  • something moving that caused a sound ( ἦχος ēchos ) or noise
  • not a violent wind but like it, from above (heaven) – supernatural origin
  • filled the house – wasn’t limited to the Twelve, was for all 120
  • see Eze_1:4 Eze_37:9-10 Joh_3:8 tangible evidences of the power of God

2.  a fire  v. 3

  • visible representation of something happening
  • none were excluded from this outpouring – sat on each
  • described by John Baptist as aspect of Jesus’ ministry Mat_3:11
  • tangible evidence of the purifying work of God: Isa_6:6-7 Mal_3:2-3

3.  a filling  v. 4

  • intensified form of the verb, πίμπλημι pimplēmi , fill up, completely filled
  • the “overflow”, external evidence of the filling – speaking in other languages

1.        ἑτέραις γλώσσαις, other tongues or languages, also used in Act_2:11, our own language;  Act_2.6 Act_2.8 uses διάλεκτος  dialektos, language of a particular region

2.        ἀποφθέγγομαι  apophtheggomai, from which we get our word ‘apophthegm’ or pithy saying (Knowledge is Power), translated ‘utterance’ in Act_2:4, ‘said’ in Act_2:14  (also rendered: addressed, proclaimed, declared)

  • speak out loudly and clearly, declare emphatically – used of the prophets LXX, philosophers in Greek culture, Paul in Act_26:25
  • not heavenly or ecstatic languages, but ones that were known – they spoke in a γλῶσσα (v. 4), they heard in a γλῶσσα (v. 11)
  • known language about a known subject – “our own dialect” & “the wonderful works of God” (v. 11)
  • evidence of a new era in God’s dealing with mankind
  • tangible evidence of the permanent presence of God

B.  The Crowd Responds

1.  convened  v. 5, 9-11

  • Two words used to describe people who heard:

1.       κατοικέω  katoikeō, dwelling, settled resident or inhabitant  ( Act_2:5  Act_2:9  Act_2:14 )

2.      ἐπιδημέω  epidēmeō, visitor, temporary resident living away from home ( Act_2:10 )

  • Very likely included travelers
  • Barnes, Gill, Henry, Lightfoot, Poole refer to Messianic hopes

We may enquire what brought all those Jews and proselytes together to Jerusalem at this time: not to make a transient visit thither to the feast of pentecost, for they are said to dwell there. They took lodgings there, because there was at this time a general expectation of the appearing of the Messiah; for Daniel’s weeks had just now expired, the sceptre had departed from Judah, and it was then generally thought that the kingdom of God would immediately appear, Luk_19:11. This brought those who were most zealous and devout to Jerusalem, to sojourn there, that they might have an early share in the kingdom of the Messiah and the blessings of that kingdom.  Matthew Henry, in loco.

  • Gathered from all parts by the peculiar providence of God. John Wesley, in loco.

    Much of the known 1st century world represented
    Modern-day: Iran, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Eqypt, Libya, Italy, Crete, Saudia Arabia

  • Previously prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive God’s message, the word about his mighty acts – the context would suggest what he had done in Christ, the Messiah.

NOTE:  If the majority of these gathered in the crowd which eventually included the 3000 converts were in Jerusalem for the above (Messianic) reasons, that would significantly help to explain the quickness of response after Peter’s sermon.  Also, it could have been partly a case of: “We came for the big event and we missed it; now what?” rather than “Boy, are we in deep weeds ’cause we killed our hero!”

2.  confused  vv. 6-8, 12

  • συγχέω sugcheō confused, perplexed ( Act_2:6 )
  • ἐξίστημι existēmi amazed, astonished ( Act_2:7 Act_2:12 )
  • θαυμάζω thaumazō marveled ( Act_2:7 )
  • διαπορέω diaporeō perplexed, thoroughly filled with bewilderment ( Act_2:12 )
    It is applied to those who are traveling, and are ignorant of the way, or who hesitate about the road. They were all astonished at this; they did not know how to understand it or explain it. Barnes
  • at a complete loss to know what was going on or what it meant, even though they knew what they were expecting (why they were there in Jerusalem); it didn’t match their preconceived mental picture.
  • not expecting to hear about the incarnation in their native language ( v. 8, 11 )

3.  criticized  v. 13

  • others, not the real “seekers”
  • treated the phenomenon as a joke
  • The world begins with mocking, thence proceeds to cavilling (trivial objections), Act_4:7; to threats, Act_4:17; to imprisoning, Act_5:18; blows, Act_5:40; to slaughter, Act_7:58. Wesley, in loco.

C.  The Prophecy Confirmed  vv. 14-21

1.  rebuked  vv. 14-15

  • Duh! It’s only 9 am, no one would be eating or drinking by this time of day (morning sacrifice) much less be intoxicated.
  • Use your head/common sense; especially if it were the entire church (120 Christians), nothing in Jewish culture would have sanctioned such an orgy; besides on a “holiday” they would have eaten nothing before noon!
  • Again we are reminded that Peter’s declaration here is an example of “utterance” ( ἀποφθέγγομαι ) given by the Spirit, addressed to native ethnic Jews and residents of Jerusalem.

2.  reminded  vv. 16-21

  • This was foretold

1.       It is good to observe the model here – a prophetic passage is used to interpret a current event, not predict the timing of a future event.  It is understood “after the fact” – see also Dan_9:1-2

2.      Peter took the plain sense of Joel’s prophecy from Joe_2:28-32 and applied it to what was happening

3.      “Compare (Act_2:17) which gives a specific interpretation of “afterward” (Hebrew, “Acherith”, means “latter,” “last”). “Afterward” in Joel (Joe_2:28) means “in the last days” (Greek, “eschatos”, and has a partial and continuous fulfilment during the “last days” which began with the first advent of Christ (Heb_1:2) but the greater fulfilment awaits the “last days” as applied to Israel.”  Scofield, 1917, Notes on Joel 2:28

“Peter did not state that Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.  The details of Joel 2:30-32 were not realized at that time.  Peter quoted Joel’s prediction as an illustration of what was taking place in his day, and as a guarantee that God would yet completely fulfill all that Joel had prophesied.”  New Scofield, 1967, Notes on Joel 2:28

In these two examples, the author’s view of end-times superimposed itself on the text, adding a connection that is not explicitly there.

  • God made promises and he’s in the business of keeping them (hint, hint, there’s more to come, especially in the body of the sermon!)
  • There’s something important going on here – it has far greater significance than you can possibly imagine.

3.  redirected  vv. 19-21

  • God will not be patient forever

    After this outpouring of the Spirit, God will visit in judgment

  • There will be a brief warning – God is merciful – but don’t “press your luck”

1.       Those who trust in themselves will perish (implied)

2.      Those who call on the Lord will not perish

  • Here the focus narrows from the crowd gathered to the individual: ‘whoever’, relative pronoun accompanying a singular adjective and 3rd person singular verb
  • To ‘call on the name of the Lord’ means something specific

3.      to appeal to someone, to call on them to do something

4.      logically expects a basis/reason for them to act in response

5.      includes a specific object – the Lord

  • a new significance post-cross, resurrection, and ascension
  • access to God through Christ alone, not priests or others
  • required fuller elaboration for understanding – see vv. 22-36
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